For the last couple of weeks, my inbox has been flooded with copies of an email that salesforce.com sent to IBM customers depicting how one organization moved their Domino applications to force.com and supposedly benefitted from the move. I rarely comment on the specifics of such examples, as there often is a lot of missing data -- what version of Notes, what kind of apps, etc. I'm also not even sure if that email is really having any impact; haven't had any customers ask me about it directly, and the link it takes you to on the salesforce.com website has such absurd claims about the difference between their platform and Notes that anyone educated on Notes would simply laugh.

But I have to admit, one piece of the Salesforce campaign is surprising.

You are not alone in being ready to modernize your applications; we've found that over 70% of your colleagues are planning to replace Lotus Notes. (data source: Salesforce survey of Dreamforce attendees)

You don't need a PhD in statistics to see all kinds of problems with that claim:
  • Sample bias: the attendees at SFDC's own conference are of course going to have a different attitude than the general marketplace about a product positioned as a competitor.
  • Future state: The question of "planning to replace" is an easy one to say yes to. Oh sure, I'm planning to replace my house, my car, my computer...eventually, at some point, if I have enough money, if the replacement makes sense, etc. There is no guarantee of action in that claim.
  • Audience: "your colleagues" isn't accurate, since most of the attendees at Dreamforce are salespeople, not IT.

Of course, IBM has different standards, and we would never conduct such a survey and then publicize the result. I sleep much better at night knowing we won't do this. Still, maybe this is an opportunity.

Any suggestions for a question I can ask the audience during my Messaging and Collaboration Roadmap session at IBM Connect 2013, and then start touting the overwhelmingly positive result? From Lotusphere 2012, this was the adoption of 8.5.3 moment, where a surprisingly large number of hands in the audience indicated they had already deployed the 90 day old version of Notes/Domino. Maybe I can even invite the person with the best question up on stage to ask it themselves. What should I ask?

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